WHAT IS ADHD?
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) isn't just about having too much energy or not being able to focus.
The symptoms of ADHD are due to impairments of or challenges with executive function. Executive functions are the types of cognitive processes in the brain that involve linking and coordinating many different types of skills at the same time.
Individuals with ADHD struggle with executive functions such as task initiation, goal setting and execution, response inhibition, and cognitive flexibility.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), is the standard tool that mental health professionals use to diagnose psychiatric disorders. The symptoms of ADHD listed in the DSM-V include difficulty with sustained attention, following through on projects, problems with organization, distractibility, and fidgetiness. However, these symptoms can mimic those of other disorders, such as depression and anxiety.
A careful evaluation is important when experiencing symptoms such as these. A thorough executive function assessment is necessary to accurately diagnose ADHD. More importantly, it is essential to ensure that any mood or anxiety issues are not overlooked.